While Florida law requires residents to have auto insurance, Florida is the only state that doesn't mandate drivers to carry bodily injury liability coverage. Rather, in Florida the only insurance that is mandatory meets the following minimum requirements:
- $10K in no-fault personal injury protection (PIP)
- $10K in property damage liability (PDL)
PIP covers 80% of your medical bills and 60% of your lost wages after an accident, regardless of fault, up to $10K. That’s it. Insurance to cover your medical bills, and property damage insurance to repair a car. The PIP statutory minimum insurance does not provide full coverage. Think about the situations when your injuries require you to be hospitalized or have surgery, chances are that 10K is not even going to cover a few hours in the hospital. That means that even drivers that comply with the law are operating vehicles without adequate auto insurance.
When Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist Coverage Comes Into Play
Florida is a no-fault insurance state; therefore, your own auto insurance company is the primary party when it comes to paying your medical costs. The obligation to cover expenses only extends to the maximum amount of PIP coverage under your policy. Given today’s high medical expenses, that’s often too little to cover the medical bills and other costs.
Ordinarily, the at-fault driver would have to cover your medical costs once your PIP has been exhausted. But, very often, the other motorist in a car accident:
- Has very limited bodily injury liability coverage
- Has no liability coverage
- Cannot be identified (hit and run) whether you are in your vehicle or you are a pedestrian or bicycling
- Is a ride-for-hire driver (i.e. Uber or Lyft,) who is not required to have coverage above the state-required minimums
In fact, you may have supplementary protection under your own auto insurance policy in the form of uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage. Many policies include it anyway, although Florida law doesn’t require insurers to offer this additional coverage. In that case, this coverage will kick in to protect you after your PIP runs out.
If the driver who hit you has personal assets, we can also bring a lawsuit against him or her personally to recover money, but if a person doesn’t have insurance, they usually don’t have financial assets either.
Uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage also comes into play in pedestrian, bicycling, and other accidents.
Florida Motorists Should Always Purchase UM/UIM Coverage if Possible
This is such an essential issue in the state of Florida that insurance providers are required by law to offer uninsured/underinsured motorist (UM) policies. We recommend you take them up on that offer with as much additional coverage as you can afford.
UM also covers lost wages during recovery and pain and suffering. Therefore, if you have been involved in a crash and you carry UM coverage, you might recover more consistent damages. Besides that, Florida does not require drivers to carry insurance that covers injuries to passengers. Through underinsured motorist insurance, those damages will be covered. UM coverage can also make a huge difference in case you are involved in a crash with a rental car. Florida law does not require rental companies to carry insurance that covers the damages done by individuals who rent their vehicles.
Insurers will offer you UM coverage if you also purchase bodily injury liability coverage. UM coverage is usually available at a very reasonable price. If you aren’t sure whether you currently have UM coverage, you should call your provider. But sadly, if the crash has already occurred, you won’t be able to apply it retroactively.
Additional Sources for Compensation
What if there are still significant damages for which you haven’t been compensated after you’ve exhausted your PIP and you don’t have uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage?
You're not necessarily out of luck. You may carry other kinds of insurance that might share in the duty to pay. Sometimes, when you think that you would never receive a recovery, you may find that a family household member has uninsured motorist coverage that covers you explicitly as an insured. Our firm had uncovered such coverage many times in the past. An experienced attorney may still be able to seek compensation from third parties whose negligence contributed to your suffering.